For Immediate Release

October 3, 2016

The state’s two largest waterfowl organizations have petitioned the Game Fish and Parks Commission to invalidate and rescind all nonresident three-day licenses issued outside of the Missouri River unit. The petition to invalidate includes 500 licenses in Brown, Marshall, Roberts, Day, Grant, Clark, Codington, Deuel and Hamlin counties as well as 1,500 licenses in Campbell, Edmunds, Faulk, McPherson and Walworth counties.

According to George Vandel, vice-president of the South Dakota Waterfowl Association, these three-day licenses were issued in violation of state statute.  “The law specifically states that the commission must not increase the number of non-resident, three-day licenses above five percent of the prior year’s number. The 1,500 licenses in the northcentral part of the state push the numbers up by about 35 percent. ”

Chris Hesla, executive director of South Dakota Wildlife Federation, says that the law also requires that any increase in nonresident licenses must be accompanied by an increase in waterfowl hunting opportunities for resident hunters. “Clearly the commission didn’t increase waterfowl hunting opportunities in the northeastern part of the state when it transferred 500 licenses to that region in 2002. This year it jumped the number of three-day licenses from zero to 1,500 and the commission still took no action to increase opportunities for resident hunters as required by law.”

Vandel and Hesla point out that these failures are in contrast to what the commission did in 1998 when it first created three-day, private land only, waterfowl licenses for nonresidents. In that instance, the commission put together the Oahe Waterfowl Access Program in a Missouri River Unit north of Pierre. “The commission’s program satisfied all the requirements of the law and has been a remarkable success. Its given resident hunters from all parts of the state opportunities they’ve never had before. The model was there; it could have been replicated.”

The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission will address the petition at its October 6th and 7th meeting in Mobridge, South Dakota.

Contact: Chris Hesla at 605-224-7524

Contact: George Vandel at 605-295-2880